France: burnt homes and broken promises, the Jungle evicted

Published on, by Harriet Paintin and Hannah Kirmes-Daly, Oct 31, 2016.

Chaos and confusion prevail as the autonomous migrant camp in Calais is being cleared, but few have any doubts that before long new Jungles will arise.

Last week saw the brutal destruction of the Calais Jungle, Europe’s largest unregulated refugee camp and home to around 10,000 people who have built communities, collective solidarity and even an autonomous economy. The eviction of the camp yet again calls into question Europe’s asylum policy as refugees who have fled war, persecution and destruction once again witnessed their homes and community spaces razed to the ground, this time as part of a “humanitarian effort”. French authorities declared on Wednesday that the camp was empty, but hundreds of people – including unaccompanied minors – remain in an incredibly precarious position, sleeping rough and at risk of arrest.

Unlike most refugee camps in Europe where food and facilities are provided by authorities, the Jungle evolved as a relatively autonomous entity, more like a shanty town than a camp. Restaurants, shops, barber shops and community spaces lined the muddy high street, which served not only as small commercial enterprises, but also as spaces of collective solidarity where people would gather, share information and build their community. Without these networks of support, the experience of being a refugee is infinitely more isolating and confusing.

The day before the eviction: … //

… Misinformation and Confusion: … //
… The registration Process: … //

… The Fire:

At about 3am on Wednesday morning a huge fire started, burning all the homes and possessions left behind. A fire which quickly spread out of control throughout the camp and razed it to the ground, leaving the high street looking like a devastated ghost town.

Later, the registration area quickly descended into chaos as people were told that the last buses were leaving that afternoon. The line for minors closed early and hundreds were told to come back the next day. In the midst of this chaos and confusion the destruction of the camp continued in full force as the bulldozers and cranes moved in.

“It’s exactly like the scenes we have run away from, it’s just like watching our homes being burnt by the rebel forces” gasped one young man from Sudan as he gazed upon the desolation and destruction before him.

After the last buses departed, the French authorities and some media outlets reported that the camp had been cleared and the eviction was a success, ignoring the hundreds left behind. Having been turned away by the authorities for the third day running, children were ordered back into a Jungle which by this time had become an apocalyptic scene of burning buildings, toxic smoke, exploding gas canisters. They had nowhere else to go but the streets, with no information about what options are open to them, if any.

This eviction may have been dressed up as a “humanitarian effort” but the blatant contradictions between the official line of events and the reality on the ground reveals gaping fault-lines in Europe’s refugee policies. With unaccompanied minors left sleeping on the street, then by no stretch of the imagination has this been a successful operation. Rather, this is nothing but a complete failure on behalf of the authorities who are responsible for their protection. If the eviction was planned with the best interests of the Jungle residents in mind, then it would have worked out in a different way.

There has been a refugee camp in Calais since the early 1990s, and after each eviction people have returned to rebuild. Long term residents of the Jungle believe that there is nothing that the authorities can do to stop people coming and trying to reach the UK; they are confident that before long, small camps will spring up again, but without the facilities and systems of mutual cooperation and aid that people have built in the Jungle their survival will be even more precarious.

(full text).


Revealed Maersk’s Murky Deals, on Countercurrent, by Toxics Watch Alliance, Nov 1, 2016: promote waste imperialism and lobbying for proposed regressive Hong Kong Convention;

‘Red Ellen’ Wilkinson – How a radical campaigner was limited by Labour, on Socialist Worker, Nov 1, 2016: a new biography of MP and campaigner Ellen Wilkinson documents her fight for radical change – and how a commitment to parliament scuppered it, writes Nick Clark;

The FBI intervenes in the 2016 election, on Axis of Logic, by Patrick Martin, Oct 29, 2016: in an extraordinary and unprecedented action, the Federal Bureau of Investigation has stepped into the 2016 presidential campaign only 11 days before Election Day, sending a letter to Congress announcing new “investigative steps” related to Hillary Clinton’s use of a private email server.

What Are We to Think? on Global Justice in the Century, by Richard Falk, Oct 29, 2016: a cascade of developments should make us afraid of what seems to be emerging politically in the United States at this time …;

US: Wall Street ‘Influence’? Teachers Unions Request Probe Of Donations To Charter School Measure, on International Business Times, by DAVID SIROTA and AVI ASHER-SCHAPIRO, Oct 27, 2016: the two largest teachers unions in Massachusetts asked federal and state law enforcement officials to investigate whether large donations to a charter school ballot measure backed by Republican Gov. Charlie Baker violated anti-corruption rules. The request Thursday from the unions was prompted by an International Business Times/MapLight report showing that the state pension board — which Gov. Baker appoints members to — gave lucrative contracts to manage teachers’ pensions to Wall Street firms whose executives then bankrolled the Baker-backed ballot initiative …;

US: Wall Street Firms Make Money From Teachers’ Pensions — And Fund Charter Schools Fight, on International Business Times, by DAVID SIROTA, AVI ASHER-SCHAPIRO and ANDREW PEREZ, Oct 26, 2016: when Massachusetts public school teachers pay into their pension fund each month, they may not realize where the money goes. Wall Street titans are using some of the profits from managing that money to finance an education ballot initiative that many teachers say will harm traditional public schools …;

UN Unanimously Rejects Blockade as US Abstains for First Time, on teleSUR english, Oct 26, 2016: while the U.S. abstention may be a nod to the potential lifting of the blockade, Cuba insists that it will not return to capitalism. In a historic step toward lifting the blockade on Cuba, the United States abstained Wednesday in the United Nations General Assembly vote, unanimously calling for the end of the Cold War measure for the 25th consecutive year …;

von wir verändern auf YouTube hochgeladen:

Seit heute 14. Aug 2016 lebt die Menschheit auf Kredit, im, die Redaktion: bereits sind sämtliche Umwelt-Ressourcen des Jahres 2016 verbraucht – und das Datum wird laufend vorveschoben;

… and this:

uploaded by Niels Ovlla Dunfjell:

Comments are closed.